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Gordon H. Hanson

Professor of Economics; Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations; Director, Center on Emerging and Pacific Economies


(858) 822-5087
Fax: (858) 534-3939

9500 Gilman Drive, 0519
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519

Office: #1324


Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1992 (economics)
A.B., Occidental College, 1986 (economics, summa cum laude)

Programs and Centers

The Center on Emerging and Pacific Economies
International Economics Career Track
Latin America Regional Concentration Program


Google Citations

Professor Hanson holds the Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations at UC San Diego, where he is director of the Center on Emerging and Pacific Economies and has faculty positions in the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and the Department of Economics. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a co-editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics. Prior to joining UCSD in 2001, he was on the economics faculty at the University of Michigan (1998-2001) and at the University of Texas (1992-1998). He received his PhD from MIT in 1992 and his BA from Occidental College in 1986. In 2011, Professor Hanson received the Chancellor’s Associates Award for Excellence in Research in Social Science and the Humanities from UC San Diego.

Professor Hanson specializes in the economics of international trade, international migration, and foreign direct investment. He has published extensively in the top academic journals of the economics discipline, is widely cited for his research by scholars across the social sciences, and is frequently quoted in major media outlets. His current research examines the international migration of skilled labor, border enforcement and illegal immigration, the impact of imports from China on the US labor market, and the determinants of comparative advantage. In past work, he has addressed how immigration and global outsourcing affect the US economy, the economic integration of the US and Mexico, the causes and consequences of global expansion by multinational firms, and the relationship between international trade and the location of economic activity. His most recent book is Regulating Low Skilled Immigration in the United States (American Enterprise Institute, 2010).


Professor Hanson is an authority on international migration, international trade and foreign investment.

Media Mentions

“Perils of Globalization When Factories Close and Towns Struggle,” New York Times, May 16, 2015.

“Obama’s Uphill Push for Free Trade,” Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2015.

“A Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” On Point, WBUR, April 21, 2015.

 “How the Vise on US Wages Tightened,” Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2015. 

“Free Trade: Obama’s Legacy and Your Pocketbook,” To the Point, KCRW, March 17, 2015.

"A Trade Deal Liberals Can Live With," Bloomberg, March 17, 2015.

“Why Obama’s Key Trade Deal with Asia Would Actually Be Good for American Workers,” Washington Post, March 12, 2015.

“Globalization That Works for Workers at Home,” New York Times, Feb. 25, 2015. 

“This Time, Get Global Trade Right,” New York Times, April 20, 2014.

“Tech Leaps, Job Losses and Rising Inequality,” New York Times, April 16, 2014.

“Is the American Middle Class Losing out to India and China?” New York Times, April 2, 2014.

“20 Years Later: NAFTA’s Impact on US-Mexico Trade,” KPBS Evening Edition, March 5, 2014.

“Explained: Why Obama Loves Trade and Democrats Hate It.” Washington Post, Feb. 25, 2014.

"ECONOMIX BLOG: The Free-Trade Blues." New York Times, August 5, 2013.

“Want Tougher Border Security? Hope for an Awful Economy.” Washington Post, June 24, 2013.

“Twin Storms for US Workers: Chinese Imports and Technological Change.” Christian Science Monitor, June 13, 2013.

“How Will Immigration Reform Affect California’s Economy?” KALW, 91.7 FM, San Francisco, June 4, 2013.

"For Medicare, Immigrants Offer Surplus, Study Finds." New York Times, May 29, 2013.

"A Novel Idea: Build Monster.com for Immigrant Labor." Bloomberg Businessweek, April 13, 2013.

"Is Globalization Wiping out the American Surfboard Industry?" PBS News Hour, March 21, 2013.

"The U.S.-Mexico Border Got Secured. Problem Solved?" Bloomberg Businessweek. February 21, 2013.

"Technology, Trade and Fewer Jobs." New York Times. February 14, 2013.

"Selling Amnesty." New York Times. February 3, 2013.

"The Economics of Immigration: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why." Time. January 30, 2013.

"Want Tighter Border Security? You Are Already Getting It." Washington Post. January 29, 2013.

"Free Exchange: Border Follies." The Economist. November 17, 2012.

"The Good Newt." New York Times Opinion Pages. December 11, 2011.

"Who’s Afraid of the Dragon?" The Economist. October 15, 2011.

"More Foreign Investment Wanted, Marketplace." National Public Radio. October, 10, 2011.

"On the Economy." Bloomberg Radio. October 10, 2011.

"The Economic Reality of Tough Immigration Laws." National Public Radio, All Things Considered. October 8, 2011.

"The Downside of Trade with China." Marketplace, National Public Radio. September 27, 2011.

"Tallying the Toll of U.S.-China Trade." Wall Street Journal. September 27, 2011.

"Why Isn’t Mexico Rich?" Interview with Expansion Magazine. Nov. 30, 2010.

Award ceremony. Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Award for Research in Social Science and the Humanities. March 2011. Video of Ceremony.

"Managing Immigration in High Income Countries." Center for Research and Analysis of Migration, University College London. March 23, 2010.

"The Economics and Policy of Illegal Immigration." Migration Policy Institute. Dec. 2, 2009. Video Presentation.

"Immigration, Public Policy and the Skills Debate." Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan. Nov. 19, 2009. Video Presentation.

Award Ceremony. Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Award for Research in Social Science and the Humanities. March 2011. Video Presentation.

"Room for Debate: The Competition for Low-Wage Jobs." New York Times. March 18, 2009.

"The Costs of Immigration." BlogTalkRadio. August 2008. Panel Discussion with Mike Farrell.

"The Body Politic: Immigration 2008." UCSD TV. July 2008. Panel Discussion with Wayne Corneilius.

"Dodging the Guest Worker Bullet." Wall Street Journal. July 5, 2007. Opinion-Editorial, p. A15.

"Free Markets Need Free People." Wall Street Journal. April 10, 2007. Opinion-Editorial, p. A19.


Co-Editor, The Review of Economics and Statistics
Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
Senior Fellow, Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development
Member, Council on Foreign Relations
Global Macroeconomics Advisory Committee, Meketa Investment Group
Advisory Committee, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Member, Conference on Research in Income and Wealth
Research Network Fellow, CESifo
Member, International Growth Centre, London School of Economics
External Fellow, CReAM, University College London
International Research Fellow, Kiel Institute for the World Economy
Research Fellow, IZA
Member, Board of Directors, Washington Office on Latin America

Editorial Boards    

Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2012-
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
North American Journal of Economics and Finance,
B.E. Journals in Economic Analysis and Policy,
Review of Economics and Statistics,
Journal of Economic Geography,
Journal of Economic Literature,
Journal of International Economics,
American Economic Review,

Research Interests

Recent Working Papers

“The Long Run Evolution of Comparative Advantage,” October 2013, with Marc Muendler.

“Import Competition and the Great US Employment Sag of the 2000s,” August 2014. (with Daron Acemoglu, David Autor, David Dorn, and Brendan Price)

“The Labor Market and the Marriage Market: How Adverse Trade Shocks Affect Marriage, Fertility and Children’s Living Circumstances, July 2014. (with David Autor and David Dorn)

Data Sets

Apprehensions and enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border by the U.S. Border Partrol, 1963-2004.

Foreign outsourcing by U.S. manufacturing industries, 1979-1990.

Reading Lists

International Economics, IRCO 403

Topics in International Trade, IRGN 435

Empirical Topics in International Trade, ECON 247

Recent Publications

International Trade
U.S. Immigration/Mexico Emigration
International Migration

International Trade

"Adjustment to Trade: Worker Level Evidence," Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming, with David Autor, David Dorn, and Jae Song. Online Appendix.

"Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labor Markets," Economic Journal, forthcoming, with David Autor and David Dorn.

“Return of the Solow Paradox? IT, Productivity and Employment in U.S. Manufacturing.”American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 104(5), 2014: 394-399, with Daron Acemoglu, David Autor, David Dorn, and Brendan Price.

"The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States," American Economic Review, 103(6), 2013: 2121-2168., with David Autor and David Dorn. China Syndrome_Theory Appendix.

"The Geography of Trade and Technology Shocks in the United States." American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 103(3), 2013: 220-225, with David Autor and David Dorn.

"Exporting Christianity: Governance and Doctrine in the Globalization of US Denominations," Journal of International Economics, 91(2), 2013: 301-320, with Chong Xiang.

"The Rise of Middle Kingdoms: Emerging Economies in Global Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26(2), 2012, 41-64.

"Volatility due to Outsourcing: Theory and Evidence," Journal of International Economics, 85(2), 2011: 163-173, with Paul Bergin and Robert Feenstra.

"Trade Barriers and Trade Flows with Product Heterogeneity: An Application to U.S. Motion Picture Exports," Journal of International Economics, 83, 2011: 14-26, with Chong Xiang.

"Why Isn't Mexico Rich?" Journal of Economic Literature, December 48(4), 2010: 987-1004.

"Export-Led Growth v2.0", Economic Premise, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, The World Bank, March 2010, Number 3, with Otaviano Canuto and Mona Haddad.

"China and the Manufacturing Exports of Other Developing Countries," in Robert Feenstra and Shang Jin Wei, eds., China's Growing Role in World Trade, Chicago: University of Chicago Press and the NBER, 2010, 137-159. (with Raymond Robertson)

"Offshoring and Volatility: Evidence from Mexico's Maquiladora Indsutry," American Economic Review, September 99(2009): 1664-1671. (with Paul Bergin and Robert Feenstra)

"International Trade in Motion Picture Services," in Matthew Slaughter and Marshall Reinsdorf, eds., International Flows of Invisibles: Trade in Services and Intangibles in the Era of Globalization, Chicago: University of Chicago Press and the NBER, 2009, 203-225. (with Chong Xiang)

"Globalization, Labor Income, and Poverty in Mexico," in Ann Harrison, ed., Globalization and Poverty, Chicago: University of Chicago Press and the National Bureau of Economic Research, 2007, 417-456.

"Vertical Production Networks in Multinational Firms," Review of Economics and Statistics, November 2005: 664-678, with Raymond Mataloni and Matthew Slaughter.

"Market Potential, Increasing Returns, and Geographic Concentration," Journal of International Economies, September 2005, 67(1): 1-24.

"Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property Rights Theory of the Firm," Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 2005, 120(2): 729-762, with Robert Feenstra. Appendix.

"The Home Market Effect and Bilateral Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, September 2004, 94: 1108-1129, with Chong Xiang.

"Intermediaries in Entrepôt Trade: Hong Kong Re-Exports of Chinese Goods," Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 13(2004): 3-36, with Robert Feenstra.

"Technology, Trade, and Adjustment to Immigration in Israel," European Economic Review, 48(2004): 403-428, with Matthew Slaughter and Neil Gandal.

"What Has Happened to Wages in Mexico since NAFTA?" in Toni Estevadeordal, Dani Rodrick, Alan Taylor, Andres Velasco, eds., FTAA and Beyond: Prospects for Integration in the Americas, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.

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 U.S. Immigration/Mexico Emigration

"Attracting Talent: Location Choices of Foreign Born PhDs in the US," Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming, with Jeffrey Grogger.

"Talent, Immigration, and U.S. Economic Competitiveness." Compete America, May 2013, with Matthew J. Slaughter.

"The Scale and Selectivity of Foreign Born PhD Recipients in the U.S." American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 103(3), 2013: 189-92, with Jeffrey Grogger.

Substitution between Immigrants, Natives and Skill Groups," Journal of the European Economic Association, 10(1), 2012, with George Borjas and Jeffrey Grogger.

"The Great Mexican Emigration," Review of Economics and Statistics, November 92(4), 2010: 798-810, with Craig McIntosh.

"Future Directions for Research on Immigration," American Economic Association White Paper for Future Research in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, October 2010.

"Illegal Immigration: Considering the Costs and Benefits," The American: The Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, October 1, 2010.

"Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men," Economica, April 77(306), 2010: 255-282, with George Borjas and Jeff Grogger.

"The Economics and Policy of Illegal Immigration in the United States," Migration Policy Institute Report, December 2009.

"The Demography of Mexican Migration to the US," American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, May 99(2009): 22–27. (with Craig McIntosh)

"Individual Preferences over High-Skilled Immigration in the United States," in Jagdish Bhagwati and Gordon Hanson, eds., Skilled Immigration Today: Problems, Prospects, and Policies, Oxford University Press, 2009, 207-246. (with Kenneth Scheve and Matthew Slaughter)

"Local Public Finance and Individual Preferences over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, 19(2007): 1-33, with Kenneth Scheve and Matthew Slaughter.

"Emigration, Remittances, and Labor Force Participation in Mexico," Integration and Trade Journal, 27(2007): 73-103.

"The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration," Council Special Report No. 26, Council on Foreign Relations, April 2007.

"Emigration, Labor Supply and Earnings in Mexico," in George Borjas, ed., Mexican Immigration, Chicago: University of Chicago Press and the National Bureau of Economic Research, 2007, 289-328.

"Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, December 44(2006): 869-924.

"International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, April 2005, 113(2): 239-281, with Daniel Chiquiar.

Why Does Immigration Divide America? Public Finance and Political Opposition to Open Borders, Washington DC: Institute for International Economics, 2005.

"Challenges for US Immigration Policy," in C. Fred Bergsten, ed., The United States and the World Economy: Foreign Economic Policy for the Next Decade, Washington DC: Institute of International Economics, 2005, 343-372.

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International Migration

"International Migration and Human Rights," in Katherine Hite and Mark Unger, eds., Sustaining Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013, 245-266.

"Birthrates and Border Crossings: Latin American Migration to the US, Canada, Spain, and the UK," Economic Journal, 122(562), 2012, 707–726, with Craig McIntosh.

"Income Maximization and the Selection and Sorting of International Migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Development Economics, 95(1), 2011: 42-57, with Jeff Grogger.

"International Migration and Development," in Ravi Kanbur and A. Michael Spence, eds., Equity in a Global World, Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2010, 229-262.

"International Migration and the Developing World," in Dani Rodrik and Mark Rosenzweig, eds., Handbook of Development Economics, Vol. 5, Amsterdam: North Holland, 2010, 4363-4414.

"The Governance of Migration Policy," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, May 11(2), 2010: 185-208.

"The Economic Consequences of International Migration," Annual Review of Economics, 1(2009): 179-208.

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